Food manufacturing cleaning: best practices

In hospitality and food manufacturing environments, cleanliness is essential, especially in an era where traceability is coming under more scrutiny. However, many production floor managers and hospitality staff find it difficult to set up a cleaning process that is cost-effective, efficient, and gets the job done.

There are many cleaning challenges that face food and beverage manufacturers and processors, but there are also solutions that can make sure a factory is kept up to scratch in the cleanliness stakes.

Ensuring health and safety standards are met
When working with food, it is important to prioritise cleanliness and food safety at all times. Unlike some environments where it is possible to clean up at the start or end of the shift, a workspace needs to be clean and hygienic round the clock.

Different spaces that have different cleaning needs
It is important to realise that different spaces have different cleaning requirements, whether it is a large open floor area, small space with tight corners – or a mixture of both.

Plus, it might be necessary to deal with a range of floor types – from smooth-coated flooring and concrete to tiles (with or without grout), bricks, stone, slate, and more. This is an important consideration when choosing cleaning equipment and machinery.

Cleaning needs to happen during operating hours
Most food manufacturing and hospitality environments deal with long opening hours, continuous production, and even 24/7 service. That usually involves cleaning with customers and/or staff in the area. This means they need to carefully consider how they can make the area safe and minimise slippage/fall risks.

Many food manufacturers operate at a large scale with hundreds of staff. That can come with extra challenges – they’ll need to identify who is in charge of the cleaning, then ensure proper training, accountability, and machine care.

A lot of the time, the staff who are responsible for cleaning also have other responsibilities and demands on their time, such as serving customers or working on the production line.

They need to be able to work efficiently when cleaning so they can also keep on top of other areas.

Budget constraints
Most hospitality and food manufacturing organisations have a lot of expenses – rent, wages, materials, ingredients, suppliers, and equipment.

In some cases, it’s not an option to hire dedicated cleaning staff, or increase hours so existing staff can improve cleanliness.

Hospitality environment cleaning best practices and solutions
What’s the answer to the above challenges? Most of the time, it comes down to improving cleaning practices and using the best available technology.

The best cleaning technology
The best way to boost efficiency and effectiveness, and get a better clean done in the same amount of time (or less) is with better cleaning technology.

For example, a food production factory might replace its existing mop and bucket setup for a walk-behind scrubber.

That means they could potentially get a better job done in less time (meaning less wages to pay) with less chemicals and water (meaning improved safety).

Tracking technology

One way to improve accountability in large organisations is with smarter technology that tracks equipment operation, maintenance, and location.

With Tennant’s IRIS Asset Manager, you can see how a machines is being used, where they are located, and whether they are being properly maintained.

Cleanliness tests

Another way to improve food manufacturing cleanliness is with regular adenosine triphosphate (ATP) tests.

ATP is a type of molecule that exists in or around living cells, which (if present) can be an indicator of unsanitary or contaminated surfaces.

It is a good idea to conduct regular cleaning audits to ensure all surfaces are being properly cleaned and also try and identify areas that need improvement.

Safer methods

One of the biggest safety risks with regular cleaning (especially with staff/customers around) is slippery/wet floors. The best way to reduce this risk is to minimise slipping with methods that use less water and/or self-dry.

Tennant’s scrubber-dryers use minimal water and come with built-in drying mechanisms. Plus, users can choose the battery-operated version to remove the risk of tripping over cords.

Another benefit of reducing water usage in floor cleaning is users can avoid getting water or floor cleaning solution on surrounding equipment, which can be damaging.

Good operational procedures

A lot of cleaning challenges can be solved by reviewing operational procedures, including cleaning schedules.

Create a clear schedule that ensures everything is cleaned regularly and on time.

Create a checklist to ensure that the most important cleaning processes happen continually throughout the day, as needed, to keep operation lines safe and clean.

Better training

Help people know what to do and how to do it for a safer, more effective clean.

This goes with all cleaning processes, but especially cleaning equipment.

Tennant’s  touch screen ProPanel comes with built-in training features to help onboard a team and guide them through the steps to use and maintain your equipment.

Tennant ride-on cleaning range has hands-on local support

Keeping a food and beverage processing plant clean is an important part of the manufacturing process. One company that specialises in this area is Tennant Australia, which offers an array of floor care solutions that it has been delivering to the food and beverage sector since 1976. As well as its range of floor scrubbers and sweepers, it has floor coatings systems and machine technologies to make sure plant and equipment meet Australian and New Zealand health and safety standards. This includes:

• Ech2O NanoClean offers detergent-free cleaning that reduces water consumption by up to 70 per cent, as well as chemical usage.
• IRIS Data Manager, which allows customers to use data to make decisions and make sure their fleet is being utilised property. If a customer has fleets of units throughout the country, this allows them to remotely see the status of these machines, who’s using what machine (and when), monitoring machine performance and maintenance needs, and calculating the costs per machine.

READ MORE: Cleaning cloths feature endless fibre technology

One of the benefits of dealing directly with a manufacturer is that companies can purchase, rent or lease directly from Tennant depending on their business needs.

Another benefit is that Tennant offers a nationally backed Factory Direct service program – it has 40 plus technicians across the country that look after customer needs. Regular servicing reduces the likelihood of unplanned downtime, identifies potential problems before they become major, and helps a facility’s machines perform optimally. All of these benefits can help reduce the ongoing cost of ownership. The company also has a national strategic account team at all of its locations across Australia and NZ to help customers with centralised pricing and servicing components.

Tennant has a large rental fleet that starts with the smaller-sized T300 walk behind floor scrubber through to a large M30 sweeper-scrubber combo machine that can cover over 10,500m2 per hour. There is also a range of floor sweepers starting with a S10 walk behind sweeper to a larger Sentinel industrial high-performance rider.

The company recently won a national rental deal with one of Australia’s largest national bottlers of ready-to-drink beverages that is currently being rolled out.

Tennant scrubbers equipped with ec-H20 technology

Maintaining sanitary environments is critical in food and beverage facilities. Tennant’s high-performance total floor care solutions help provide clean, hygienic environments where food or beverages are prepared, processed, packaged, bottled, stored or transported.

Australia is governed by a Food Standards code. HACCP is a systematic approach to identifying, evaluating and controlling food safety hazards – where a hazard is anything that could make food dangerous to eat such as microbiological (e.g. bacteria), chemical (e.g. cleaning products) and physical (e.g. debris).

Whether the challenge is cleaning tight, congested spaces or keeping large areas free of dirt and food grease build-up, Tennant has a solution to protect a facility and keep cleaning sanitary with innovations like the easy-to-clean Hygienic solution and recovery tanks and the detergent-free ec-H2O NanoClean technology.

Water makes up 50-65 per cent of the human body. It covers approximately 70 per cent of the earth. It has shaped our land, served as a barrier and a travel route throughout history, and is one of the most important factors to sustaining life as we know it.

Last year, Tennant celebrated the 10th anniversary of Tennant Company introducing a different way to use water – ec-H2O Technology. Scrubbers equipped with ec-H2O technology electrically convert water into a detergent-free cleaning solution that cleans effectively, saves money, improves safety, and reduces environmental impact compared to traditional cleaning chemicals and methods.

The technology initially launched on select Tennant Walk-Behind Scrubbers in 2008 and expanded to select Rider Scrubbers by 2009. The second generation of ec-H2O Technology, ec-H2O NanoClean, was introduced on the Tennant T300 in 2016. ec-H2O NanoClean technology offers the same benefits of the first generation but cleans better by cleaning more soils in more applications.

Ec-H2O NanoClean can create real savings by:
• Reducing the need to purchase floor cleaning detergents.
• Increasing productivity by allowing operators to clean up to three times longer.
• Reducing other costs such as water supply and waste as well as costs associated with the purchasing and storing of conventional detergents.